Twenty years ago, Atlanta’s Patmon Malcom kicked the game-winning field goal – twice, no less – to help Army defeat Navy, 25-24, and complete a 17-point comeback.
His first attempt from 44 yards was flagged for delay of game, so he had to kick it again from 49 yards.
It was the last field goal of Malcom’s career.
He graduated and spent eight years in the Army flying Blackhawk helicopters.
He returned to Atlanta, earned an MBA from Emory and went to work for J.P. Morgan in New York doing investment banking. For the past eight years he has worked in the Atlanta firm of Earnest Partners, where he is now a partner focusing on investment management.
Malcom won’t be at Saturday’s Army-Navy game, but he will be watching it with friends and family from his home in Milton.
Q: Would it be inaccurate to think that you, a Cadet, were scared before the kick?
A: I don’t know if you would call it scared. In the moment, you don’t realize how big it is. It was my job. That’s what I did. I kicked field goals. That’s what you’re trained for.
In the moment, you aren’t really thinking about being scared. You are thinking about, ‘How am I going to make this?’ instead of being scared.
Q: What advice would you give the kicker for Army if he faces a game-winner on Saturday?
A: My only advice to him would be to keep his head down. If you start thinking about other stuff, that’s when you miss. I’m sure it’s something he has practiced. What you want to rehearse in your head and before your actual kick is ‘what things am I going to do right?’
For me, 90-180 seconds I was thinking about where my plant foot is going to be, have good leg lock and keep my head down.
If you do that, everything takes care of itself.
Q: What about Navy’s kicker? Any advice?
A: (Laughs) Don’t keep your head down. Look up.
Q: Did that kick change your life?
A: It changed elements of my life. I would say that. When you asked if I was scared ahead of time, that’s what you don’t realize in the moment. That’s what the kickers, if they are put in that situation … it could change their lives. I didn’t realize the impact.
It can also affect your career. The difference in going and playing for an SEC school or ACC school, everyone from that school goes off into a hundred thousand directions. You can still keep up with each other with social media, but it’s not like Army or Navy where every single person is going into the military and you will interact them for at least the next five years.
To be known as the guy that made the kick, instead of the guy that missed the kick, that makes for a much better life.